Deeply in love and inseparable for more than 30 years, Helen and Ed sold nearly everything they owned, bought a yacht and set sail on the trip of a lifetime around the globe. They decided to spend Christmas in Thailand on Phi Phi Don island. On December 26, 2004, Ed and Helen were walking on the beach when the tsunami hit.
Ed knew they couldn't outrun it so he told Helen they had to hold onto each other. After the first wave hit, Helen was knocked unconscious. Ed thought they had survived…then the second wave broke and they were forced underwater.
"There was no doubt in my mind it was over," says Ed. "And I asked myself a question: 'I wonder how long it takes to die?' It wasn't even important. I just wasn't ready to give her up. I wasn't going to do it. So we held on."
Miraculously, Helen and Ed survived. A stranger in a canoe rescued them and got them to safety. Days ago, Helen and Ed returned to the site where they were swept away by the tsunami. "It looks as peaceful as the day we got here, it feels strange, it feels almost surreal," says Ed. "I think I had a lot of fear about going back, but I felt pulled there and I needed to go back. It was important and part of the healing process. And when I left the island, I think it was healthy thing because I saw hundreds of volunteers of students and kids working on the island to restore it. And I think that was probably the biggest memorial."
Though both Helen and Ed bear the physical and emotional scars of the tsunami, they've hired a delivery skipper to help them complete the amazing journey they started.
Learn how Oprah's Angel Networks is helping tsunami disaster victims.